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Dentistry/Crown after root canal on upper central incisor


How necessary is a crown after a root canal on an upper central incisor?

Background: The tooth had been knocked out of alignment (but it didn't loosen) after a fall. They re-situated it and placed a splint for a couple of weeks. I was told from the beginning that a root canal would be possible down the line. Six months after the accident, I was still experiencing a lot of sensitivity, primarily to heat/cold, so I decided to go ahead with the root canal.

It was done a couple weeks ago but I've been putting off the post-op appointment. The damage that led to the root canal was all internal, so the outside of the tooth is structurally intact. No sign of decay. The access hole at the back doesn't appear to have taken away too much of the enamel.

Can I go without a crown? If it must be done, can I at least wait a while and have a composite filling placed in the meantime?

Hi Carrie,

In situations like yours, the real issue is how much strength the remaining tooth structure has. You say there is no decay or fillings and the access hole is small. Crowns are always used in back teeth because of the forces of chewing. In front teeth, it is more shearing rather than compression as you chew. In our office, we would not suggest a crown for teeth like this. Crowns can present other problems like color match, clean ability, etc. Since I can't exam you or see your x-rays, I can't be absolutely sure, but from what you describe, a small filling in the back should be plenty to keep the tooth protected.

Hope this helps.

Gary Backlund DMD, MSD


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Gary Backlund, DMD, MSD


I am an Endodontist ( root canal specialist ) and can answer questions about root canals and their treatment. I cannot diagnose or treat online, but can answer general questions. I have been a specialist for 25 years and am Past President of the Washington State Association of Endodontists.


25 years practicing as a specialist

American Association of Endodonists, Past President Washington State Association of Endodontists.

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